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Men Aren't Funny, Says Director Paul Feig

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Paul Feig (Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com)
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The question of whether or not women are funny has come up again and again in pop culture. Jerry Lewis once said "I don't like any women comedians," Christopher Hitchens published a hugely controversial screed in Vanity Fair in 2007 entitled, "Why Women Aren't Funny," and Adam Carolla famously said that female writers are routinely the "least funny on the writing staff."

Needless to say, female comedians (and females in general, really), aren't so thrilled about this ongoing debate, and now, a man has joined their ranks to speak the truth: In The Hollywood Reporter this week, director Paul Feig ("Bridesmaids," "Arrested Development") asserts that it's actually men who are missing a funny chip.

Feig begins his essay, "Why Men Aren't Funny," by explaining that men are currently, and always have been, under the mistaken impression that they're hilarious:

[Men] loudly amuse themselves by hurling insults and epithets -- the words "dick," "balls" and "ass" being the etymological anchors of their attacks -- all for the express purpose of making one another laugh. They seem to be having such a great time that you'd feel like a monster alerting them to this one unfortunate fact: Men just aren't funny.
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In fact, men's sense of humor can be boiled down to one choice moment:

...in general, the male species' sense of humor seldom rises above the enjoyment of watching one of their own take a swift shot to the testicles.

The reason for this ongoing delusion, Feig explains, is rooted in -- where else? -- biology, and the ongoing survival of the species:

Men are genetically programmed to hunt and gather. It is they who must impregnate the herd and protect the collective. And so it's only logical that their brains would need to possess lower humor standards in order to pass the hours entertainingly with their cohorts while stalking that night's dinner or standing guard against the enemy.

Because of the necessity of keeping the tribe alive, women were therefore programmed to laugh at men's jokes even when they were dismally bad:

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As long as the men feel good about themselves, no matter how delusionary those feelings may be, the tribe will continue to function.

Feig then asserts that in our modern society, where women are capable of feeding themselves, protecting themselves, and even having babies by themselves, it might be time to squash men's ongoing belief that they ever make a successful joke, and come out with the fact that the ladies are actually the funnier ones:

The 21st-century woman is finally free to reveal her comedic superiority and inform her penised inferiors that they will never again be permitted to make that "in my pants" joke.

In the end, he says, women probably won't ever preach the truth, what with their desire to maintain harmony in the community:

Alas, women's evolved nature, along with their desire to avoid the dystopian nightmare of men trying even harder to be funny, causes them to withhold the soul-crushing revelation of masculine jocular inferiority.
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Oh well. At least someone had the courage to say it.